Here's another essay that I wrote for church that I wanted to share with all of you. It's about how I do my quiet time/prayer/Bible reading...
Sword of the Spirit
I love to journal my prayers. I get my Bible out, a favorite notebook, a pen and start reading God’s Word. A few years ago, I discovered a new way of journaling my prayers that I still use today. It is called the “S.O.A.P.” method. It stands for: Scripture, Observation, Application, and Prayer. In my journal, I write the initials for “S.O.A.P.” down the left hand side of the paper, leaving lines in between so that I can write. During my reading, I pray that God will show me a verse that He wants me to focus on. I then write the verse next to the “Scripture” section. While I’m praying, I ask God what He wants me to know about this verse, which goes under the “observation” section. Next, I pray about how I can apply that truth to my life under the “Application” section. Finally, I end with the “Prayer” section, writing out my prayer to God.
I love journaling my prayers for two main reasons. First, it keeps me focused. My mind can wander when I am praying quietly in my head, and before I know it, I’m thinking about what needs to cleaned, what I should make for dinner, and stuff that needs to be done for work. By writing out my prayers, my mind is focused on God the whole time. Second, it gives me a written record of prayers that have been answered. When I go back through my journals later, it is so awesome to see all of the prayers God has answered. Reading through old journals, there are many requests I had made that I did not remember anymore, and seeing them again reminds me of how God answers even the “small” prayers.
I’d like to share an example of the “S.O.A.P.” method for anyone else who is looking for a way to journal their prayers…
S: Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”
O: God’s Word is the light to direct our path in life. Without light, there is darkness. When it is dark, we cannot see and may bump into all sorts of things and end up hurting ourselves. When we cannot see the path that God has for us, we veer off track and take a new path that God never intended for us to be on. Not reading the Word is the equivalent of driving around at night without headlights on. The headlights are there, but if they are not turned on, they are of no use to the driver. An accident or driving off of the road into a ditch would be very likely for someone not using their headlights on a very dark night.
A: It is important to be in God’s Word daily! His Word builds me up, shows me which pathway He wants me to take, and protects me from harm. By knowing scripture, I am able to discern when something is God’s will, or it if it is something that is intended to hurt me. His Word helps me to make decisions in my life. As I pray, He reminds me of a verse that relates to what I am going through, and peace washes over me in that moment.
P: Father God, I thank you for your Word. Thank you for loving me so much that you have given me the Sword on the Spirit (the Bible) to protect me. Help me to understand your Word better, to be able to discern when you are pointing me to certain verses to help lead me on the right path. When I veer off path, please show me so that I can quickly get back on! I am so thankful that you are always right there for me when I need you. I choose to hide your Word in my heart so that I can use it to fight life’s battles! I love you so much and am honored to be called your daughter. In Jesus’ name, Amen.